Kiwi director Taika Waititi has reiterated his claims New Zealand is a racist country, but says things are improving.
Speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Thor: Rangnarok director addressed some of his previous statements which drew criticism from Kiwis.
During an interview in April with Ruban Nielson for Dazed and Confused, Waititi called New Zealand “racist as f***”.
“I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it’s a racist place. People just flat-out refuse to pronounce Māori names properly.
“There’s still profiling when it comes to Polynesians, It’s not even a colour thing – like, ‘oh, there’s a black person.’ It’s, ‘if you’re Poly then you’re getting profiled’.”
During the ‘Master Class’ talk at the TIFF, Waititi stood by his comments but praised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for helping the country move in the right direction.
“I get in a lot of trouble when I mouth off about New Zealand, I’m like public enemy number one over there,” he told the audience.
“They say, ‘what’s it like in New Zealand?’, and I say ‘it’s racist’.
“[Then Kiwis] say, ‘you’re supposed to be a spokesperson for this country!’. But, it is. It’s a f***ed up country, but it’s a beautiful country.
“I’m patriotic and I love my country, We’ve got a great Prime Minister now and things are turning.”
Waititi was full of praise for Ardern.
“We’ve got a beautiful woman who is Our Prime Minister, who was pregnant and just had a baby – with her boyfriend! And she’s unapologetic about it,” he said.
“They were like ‘what happens if you get pregnant?’ and she was like ‘I’m not here to talk about my womb, I’m here to run a country!’”